The Horvat couple
The Horvat coupleIFCJ

The first olim (new immigrants) from Hungary to move to Israel through the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (Keren L’Yedidut) arrived on Wednesday.

From Budapest, Erika and Sandor Horvat, a young couple in their 30s, moved to Israel with their pet dog and plan to live in the coastal city of Haifa. They have no family in Israel, but nevertheless, they felt the push factor of anti-Semitism for quite a while.

"The decision to move to Israel was a gradual process. We sensed, in correlation with the economic instability, the increase of anti-Semitism in the streets," said Sandor, who is an accountant by trade. "The Jobbik party’s entrance into the parliament, a far-right party that openly supports anti-Semitism, is creating a sense of apprehension. It also happens to now be the second largest party in Parliament. We really felt that the world was going backwards and that the 1930s were not so far away from the present reality. I am not personally afraid of walking in the street, but the rapid pace with which events are taking place is creating hostility."

According to a most recent study published by the Kantor Center, the number of "major violent" anti-Semitic incidents worldwide increased by as much as 13% in 2018. This trend was depicted in the increasing number of applicants seeking to make aliyah (moving to Israel) through the Fellowship who referenced anti-Semitism as a primary factor in their decision to rebuild their lives in Israel. In this effort, the Fellowship plans to make itself available to any of the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Jews of Hungary who are interested in making aliyah.

Chen Dor, the Fellowship’s Director of Immigrant Absorption and the person taking charge of helping olim from Hungary noted: "Over the past year, more and more olim have pointed to the state of anti-Semitism as the main motive for making aliyah. This is a red flag that requires immediate attention and preparation for absorbing olim. We at the Fellowship are prepared to provide comprehensive assistance to any Jew who wishes to move to Israel."

The couple had made their decision to move to Israel a little over a year ago while attending a local celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary. They immediately began preparing for aliyah and closed their private businesses. "I hope I will be able to learn the language and transition quickly to work in my field in Israel," Sandor had said excitedly at the time.

The Fellowship has brought 18,000 olim to Israel from 29 countries around the world. The olim receive comprehensive assistance from the Fellowship including special grants of $500 per adult and $300 per child. The Fellowship also sponsors their flights to Israel and ensures that they receive the absorption basket that they are entitled to under Israeli law. Additionally, the Fellowship works to make sure that the immigrant families are absorbed within their respective municipalities, particularly with regards to housing and employment. Moreover, the Fellowship continues to advise the families even after their absorption process.